Friday, April 17, 2020

Port of Olympia and ILWU Partner to Help Nonprofit

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Olympia and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 47 are teaming up with nonprofit The Moore Wright Group to help those affected by the COVID-19 health crisis by expanding warehousing and distribution of goods.

The Moore Wright Group works with major organizations and companies to garner donations such as hygiene items, toys, cleaning products and personal protective equipment, which will benefit first responders, seniors and tribes dealing with the pandemic.

The nonprofit was in need of additional space to store the influx of additional donations. The port responded by providing space and equipment to transport and store the donated goods, as well as facilitate receiving and distribution. ILWU Local 47 is donating manpower to receive and inventory the goods in addition to receive and package orders for pickup.

"Ports play a unique role in emergency response and disaster recovery,” said Port Executive Director Sam Gibboney. “We are proud to partner with our Local Longshore Union 47 and The Moore Wright Group to help aid our community during this unprecedented and trying time."

This team approach is allowing the organization to serve more of the region, which include Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Pierce, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Pacific, and Clark counties.

“We see this as an opportunity to step out and serve Washington and our neighbors during this pandemic to give hope,” said The Moore Wright Group’s executive director Tanikka Watford Williams. “We were getting calls from companies with truckloads of items they wanted to send to us, and at the same time getting calls and emails from organizations needing more items than they ever did before. We know firsthand funding is tight and the need is great. This partnership with the Port of Olympia and the ILWU Local 47, allows us to accept every truckload and accept partnerships to help our communities to be able to thrive again and give hope.”

Port of Oakland to See Largest Ship Call to Date

By Karen Robes Meeks

The 19,200-TEU container ship MSC Anna berthed on April 16 at the Port of Oakland, marking the arrival as the largest vessel to call at the port.

The 1,312-foot-long vessel, which first stopped at Oakland International Container Terminal on the Oakland Estuary, was in Southern California collecting a backlog of empty containers before arriving in Oakland, where it will spend 24 hours unloading import containers and loading exports, according to the port.

“We’ve spent years, and millions of dollars keeping ahead of the pace of trade and the size of ships,” said Port Executive Director Danny Wan. “We’re ready for the MSC Anna and we’ll welcome her back any time.”

Before MSC Anna, the largest ship to come to Oakland was the CMA Benjamin Franklin, which can carry 18,000 TEUs, back in 2016.

Port of Everett’s Parcels Off the Market

By Karen Robes Meeks

The two remaining parcels at Port of Everett’s Riverside Business Park have been sold.

The Port Commission recently approved a $3.8 million purchase and sale agreement with Snohomish County for lots 7 and 9, accounting for roughly 15.35 acres of land near East Marine View Drive on the Snohomish River.

The parcels are next to the county’s solid waste facility, giving the county an opportunity to expand operations in the future.

“We appreciate our partnership with the Port of Everett and the opportunity to use this crucial piece of property to better serve the public,” said Snohomish County Public Works Director Kelly Snyder. “We know it’s important to the residents of Everett and the Port to activate this unused property. By putting this land into productive use, we are improving our operations and preparing for future needs.”

The deal is expected to close by June 15, the port reported.

“The port’s demonstrated development and investment in Riverside Business Park, despite a long environmental legacy, has improved the potential for effective use of these two lots,” said Port Chief of Business and Economic Development, Terrie Battuello. “The proposed use not only offers highest and best use, but also, provides an essential service to the community and limits additional traffic in a congested area of the city.”

Del Monte Helps Oxnard Locals Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic

By Karen Robes Meeks

Del Monte Fresh Produce delivered a truck load of fresh fruit to the City of Oxnard to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Hueneme announced earlier this week.

“The port couldn’t be more proud to see our customers stepping up to meet the needs of the community in these difficult times,” said Oxnard Harbor District Board President Jess Ramirez. “Del Monte has always invested their resources and energy to help the community, they are committed to our local families and have been since 1979.”

Del Monte further emphasized its commitment to community last week when it named Art Bouvet in the newly created position as Community Support Leader.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Port of Seattle Offers Rent Relief to Tenants

By Karen Robes Meeks

Maritime and landside tenants are getting some help from the Port of Seattle, which is offering rent deferments through July for businesses and moorage fee deferments through June, the port announced Monday. “We are taking relief actions port-wide starting this month, including foregoing evictions, to aid our tenants in weathering this unprecedented crisis,” said Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck.

Relief will be given to those affected by COVID-19 and its economic impacts. Those seeking relief will have to show impact and need.

“The Seattle Port Commission has heard clearly from many of our customers and tenants since the outbreak of the COVID-19 health crisis, and we are taking immediate action to help forestall further economic hardship on them,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck.

Port of Long Beach Nets Grant for Railroad Project

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration recently awarded a $14.5 million grant to the Port of Long Beach toward its “Terminal Island Wye Track Realignment” railroad project.

The $40 million project, which will consist of building new tracks and upgrading a triangle-shaped rail junction where long trains can be turned and staged, is expected to help improve safety, curb train idling, get trains in and out of the port more quickly and support the port’s effort for more on-dock rail and better access to two bulk terminals near Pier T, which will fund the rest of the project.

“We’re so pleased to see the US Department of Transportation support this important project,” said port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “This will help to move cargo more efficiently through the Port, which in turn supports jobs across the United States.”

Construction is expected to begin in mid 2021 and be completed by early 2023.

Port Of Oakland’s March Cargo Numbers Drop

By Karen Robes Meeks

Overall cargo volumes at the Port of Oakland were down 11 percent last month compared to March 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weaken international trade, according to new numbers released by the port Monday.

The port – which continues to operate amid a shelter-in-place order by Alameda County because it’s deemed critical infrastructure in the battle against COVID-19 – saw March imports fall 10.3 percent, exports go down 5 percent, and empty containers tumbled 23 percent.

The new numbers reflect the trend happening among West Coast ports – many of which are reporting lower cargo volumes – and international efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has slowed cargo movement. In Oakland, the number of ships calling fell 10.6 percent year over year.

AltaSea to Offer Virtual Education Platform for Homebound Students

By Karen Robes Meeks

To help students homebound because of COVID-19, AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles is kicking off “Project Blue @Home,” a virtual education platform aimed at providing science-based programming with real-world applications.

Project Blue @Home allows students to engage with AltaSea staffers and leading marine science and exploration experts via live video chats, video question-and-answer sessions and pre-packaged lessons. The first video question-and-answer session is scheduled for April 17 and will feature Ocean Exploration Trust founder Dr. Robert Ballard, who located the doomed relic of the Titanic in 1985.

Ballard’s 64-meter research vessel E/V Nautilus is based at AltaSea.

“The COVID-19 crisis has created huge challenges for everyone, not least of all our young people,” said AltaSea CEO Tim McOsker. “With our fantastic partners and their commitment to providing valuable educational content to students, AltaSea is continuing its engagement to foster passion and learning in the critical role that the ocean has for our planet.”

McOsker himself will host a live chat to discuss the ocean economy for a segment of Project Blue @Home.